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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: The end of the major leagues

   Sept 17, 1885 -- You youngsters reading this -- and by that, we're referring to everyone under 130 years old -- might not remember that Buffalo used to be a major-league baseball city. The ending to those glory days is a great if sad story.

   The Buffalo Bisons had been in the National League since 1879 when they started the 1885 season. They had never finished higher than third, but the Bisons fell on hard times in 1885. They were stumbling along near the bottom of the standings.

   In September, Detroit called to ask if it could purchase four players as reinforcements for the stretch drive. The Wolverines were told by Josiah Jewett, president of the Bisons, that they couldn't have them -- they had to buy the entire roster. So that's what the Detroit franchise did.

   The Bisons finished the season about four weeks later. The new roster was filled with amateur and local players. Buffalo lost every game but one the rest of the way; the Herd did record one tie in that span and finished 38-74. The fans showed their enthusiasm by staying away; one game took in all of $3 in gate receipts.

    The National League left after the season, never to return. Buffalo has been on the outside looking in ever since.

--- Budd Bailey

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